Sep. 28th, 2005

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Marlin Board of Trustees begin search for new superintendent
by Denise Schoppe

The Marlin Democrat
September 28, 2005

The search for a new Marlin ISD superintendent is underway with the projected goal of having them in place for the second semester of the school year.

Texas Association of School Boards (TASB) has been brought in to aid with the search process. Mayo Neyland, a Senior Consultant with the Executive Search Services, was recently in Marlin speaking with school administrators, school board members, faculty and community members to begin building a profile report for the position.

"Our intent is to gather as much input as we can to determine the type of superintendeant communities and boards want," Neyland said.

The goal of their survey is to build a list of characteristics and qualifications needed and wanted by the community in their school district.

"We've had a good turn out," Neyland said. "I'd estimate we will have around 100 to 120 responses to build a good database and develop a profile."

Questions included in the survey address district strengths and concerns, professional characteristics requested, and personal characteristics.

Once a profile is developed, it will be posted on the TASB web-site for applicants to view and submit their application. Neyland said he expects upwards of 25 to 35 responses to the posting due to interest in the area and the district. The deadline for applying for the position is October 18.

"We do not screen the applications," Neyland said. "The school board will see all the interested candidates; we will come prepared to recommend five applicants should the board request it."

The names of all the applicants will be held confidential.

"We work to keep the information confidential because we find we have a better applicant pool that way," Neyland said. "People don't want to burn bridges by it coming out that they have applied to go elsewhere. We do not want to disrupt people's lives."

The board will select five or six candidates to interview. Each candidate will answer the same set of questions, and the interviews are tentatively set to be held November 6 - 8.

The candidates will be narrowed down to two or three following the initial interview. A second round of interviews will be held a few days later, on November 13 - 15.

"We do something different in the second round of interviews," Neyland said. "The second round is done with the spouses present."

He explained that typically they have a reception in which the applicants spouse and the board members' spouses intermingle and get to know each other. Then the spouses of the board members will take the spouse of the applicant to the home of one of the members while the second interview takes place.

"We find that the spouses add an extra dimension," Neyland said. "We make sure that both the applicant and their spouse are comfortable in the town and with the people."

The applicants are then narrowed down to one, and a team of three board members make a site visit to the applicants current home district. This gives the school board a chance to see how the candidate functions in their district. The candidate sets up groups of people for the board to speak with as they request. This lets the board feel more comfortable with their choice for the position.

Tentatively set for November 26, the board will meet to vote and name the finalist for the position. At that time, the name will be released to the public.

Law states that 21 days must pass between naming the finalist and voting to hire to give the public time to do their own research about the candidate. Thus, on December 20, the board would vote to hire the new superintendent who would begin their position with the start of the second semester.

"We will work to ensure a good candidate," Neyland said. "We will make sure that the board is satisfied. We will not stop until then, we guarantee it."

Neyland said it is up to the board to decide on salary and benefits that the new superintendent would get.

TASB is a non-profit, voluntary, statewide educational association that serves and represents local Texas school districts. Executive Search Services assist Texas Association of School Boards' members in the recruitment and selection of a chief executive officer or other key administrator. Since 1988, Executive Search Services has assisted more than 400 Texas schools, ranging in size from 100 to more than 197,000 students, in hiring a superintendent.
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Sit. Wait. Wonder.

Nise's Notes
by Denise Schoppe

The Marlin Democrat
September 28, 2005

The last week could easily be entitled, “The Wait for Rita.”

One day rolled into the next day with little attention to the usual goal of getting to the weekend. Instead, the weekend seemed to be little more than something to dread — as warning of what the damage from Hurricane Rita could be. The want for more time to prepare battled with the need to get it over with so we could move on with life.

Perhaps one of the most difficult things was the sitting and waiting. Wondering where the hurricane would hit. How much damage would it bring? Would everyone get out in time? And then once they got out, where would they go?

Everyone had a story of someone stuck in traffic for hours on end trying to get out of the coastal areas of Texas. The places so many had flocked to this summer for a dip in the Gulf waters were now the places everyone wanted to escape.

With a weary eye, everyone watched the path of the storm sway this way and that way. Those evacuating wondered if their houses would withstand Rita's power. Would it be a Category 5 or 4 when it made landfall? Or would the state be — dare I use the word — blessed with a Category 3? Did anyone even dare wish for such a thing?

There was more sitting. More waiting. More wondering. Would electricity go off for days at a time? Would there be flooding? What about tornados — the biggest weather threat this area faces yearly?

A person could go a little bit crazy waiting for the inevitable.

In a frenzy, people packed into stores and lined up at gas stations. While officials asked people to stock up items, they also asked they do so with a clear head so everyone would have a fair shot at the needed items.

Nonetheless, people would leave stores with five times the amount recommended, while others left empty handed. I suppose the early shopper gets the water.

Supplies purchased, more waiting. More wondering. Would it be bad enough that boarding up windows would be necessary? Or is that “overkill”? Maybe it would be no worse than the storms that hit the area last month. Then again, maybe that was only an appetizer of what mother nature had to offer.

For me, that was the hardest part. I would mentally try to come up with every possible scenario I could. One minute I would be filled with such confidence that there was little to worry about, and the next minute I'd be filled with such dread and fear of the unknown.

I've lived through countless tornado watches and warnings. I huddled in the band hall in high school as tornados prepared to drop on top of us — but thankfully never did. I've been stranded at home due to water closing highways. I've gone without electricity — granted not more than maybe four or five hours at one time. I'd handled all of that fine.

However, the thought of all of that at one time shook me, and even as I went about my days with a grin — deep down there was a very little girl ready to run and hide. I couldn't — and still can't — imagine how those on the coast felt in the days leading up to Rita's landfall.

As those of us this far inland scurried to find needed necessary supplies, there were others in a more dire situation coming up with no destination in mind. Just head north. As we waited and wondered in our homes in the days leading up to Rita, they sat, waiting and wondering in their cars.

Probably with Rita's passing, the days leading up to the storm will be analyzed. What more could have been done? What shouldn't have been bothered with? How will we handle it next time... because like it or not there will indeed be a next time. But the need to focus on only that is no longer a problem. There are other things to worry about and handle. As the pre-Rita time of wait and wonder is over, the post-Rita time of moving forward begins.


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